-- Reviewed by Larry Teague
Freezer burn probably accounts for more lost game and fish each year than missed shots and dull fishhooks. When our hard-earned bounty becomes dehydrated and gray due to contact with air, it’s trashed. What a waste.
A good way to maximize freezer life of meats is to wrap them like butchers and game processors do: 1) Cover the item with plastic wrap; 2) squeeze out air pockets; 3) wrap tightly in freezer paper; and 4) Fold in the ends of the package, and secure with masking tape.
As time-consuming as double wrapping is, many people think it’s worth the trouble. But there’s an even better method, one that gets almost all the air out with less time and effort: vacuum sealing.
Last summer, FoodSaver provided several Buckmasters staffers with the GameSaver Silver G500 unit to evaluate. Made for use on the go, in deer camps or at the fishing dock, the vacuum sealer comes with a 6-foot AC cord and a 15-foot 12-volt adaptor cord that plugs into the DC outlets of cars and boats. The unit has a built-in carry handle.
Vacuum sealing meats with the GameSaver Silver system keeps frozen meats fresh as long as 2 1/2 years and salmon fresh up to 1 1/2 years, the company says.
In evaluating the system, we vacuum packed a wide variety of items: venison roasts, backstrap, stew meat and hamburger, supermarket meats, bobwhite quail, sourdough bread dough, a spare hunting shirt for the backpack, a survival kit and other assorted dry goods.
We purposely did not read the instructions after opening the box to see how intuitive use would be. Setup was easy, and we were vacuum sealing items within minutes.
The unit feels solid and well made, with large buttons and LED lights to indicate stage of use. The motor is powerful enough to crush aluminum cans. We had to be careful not to over-vacuum some items, like the sourdough starter. Users can stop the vacuuming process with an override button and seal the bag at any point.
Several months after sending us the Silver 500 to put through the paces, FoodSaver introduced its largest, most powerful machine: the Titanium G800, and also sent it for us to evaluate. The machine is a brute. Intended for hunters and anglers who process a lot of game each season as well as large portions such as hams and shoulders, the G800 uses bags up to 15 inches wide. It also works with standard 8- and 11-inch FoodSaver bags.
Its dual pump is more powerful than the Silver’s, and there’s a dual seal option for the security of an additional closure. In single sealing mode, the machine can produce up to 100 repetitive seals with no waiting time. The Silver model, in comparison, can seal up to 25 bags continuously. Both units are compatible with FoodSaver GameSaver bags, including DAM, portion, expandable and heavy-duty bags, and come with an accessory port for use with specialty containers.
The Titanium G800 takes up a lot of counter space due to its width. It might not be suitable for keeping at the ready in a small kitchen, but many sportsmen will prefer it for its increased power and versatility. If you hunt bears and moose, it’s definitely the one to get. The majority of deer hunters would be happy with the Silver, we believe.
MSRPs are $199 for the Game Saver Silver G500 and $449 for the Titanium G800. Both units are covered by a lifetime warranty.